Updated: Nov 22
An ideology, mindset, and methodology for new breed 21st Century Entrepreneurs to create an extraordinary and fulfilling life through the venue of their business.
I'm in the process of finally writing my book and I'm happy to share the introduction thus far. It's a labor of love based on my long career advising hundreds of business owners and leaders navigating change and transformation to take their business to the next level.
A manifesto for the new breed 21st century entrepreneur.
A manifesto is a public declaration of policy, principals or point of view. The word comes from the Latin manifestus, which means to be clear, conspicuous, to make obvious or make evident to the senses. It also implies a framework for transforming the formless into the formed–to manifest.
In our 21st century marketplace of more choice, clutter and noise, every entrepreneur can benefit from developing a manifesto to guide the quality of their presence in the marketplace. And make a clear declaration why their business matters and is the “one and only” choice of high value customers and clients. I’d like you to ponder these important questions:
What guides your thinking when making the big decisions to grow and transform your business and your life to its next level?
What do you stand for and are unwilling to compromise on for short-term gain?
How do you know which opportunities are right for you and which to pass on?
Do your customers and clients believe your business is the one and only choice for them?
Would it matter to customers and clients if your business ceased to exist?
How will you 10X your impact and influence with high value customers and clients in a hyper-connected and cluttered marketplace?
Your answers to these fundamental questions will reveal a snapshot assessment of how much impact and influence your business currently enjoys. As an entrepreneur and leader of your own destiny, your business must represent an idea of value that is uncommon, unexpected and remarkable.
What idea of value will only you bring to the marketplace–highly valued by your customers and clients and not in abundant supply from competitors? And more importantly, will have the power and velocity to transform your life and business exponentially?
The 21st century idea economy demands bold innovation, differentiation, and value creation–hallmarks of forward-thinking 21st century entrepreneurs whose value to the marketplace is constantly rewarded with higher value customer and client relationships, not to mention higher levels of income to enjoy the freedom of discretionary time.
The marketplace rewards those entrepreneurs who earn and deserve, never because they desire or need business. If you want more, you must become more.
Ideas are the currency of our hyper-networked age. Everything ever created by a human being, from the wheel to our most advanced technologies, was once a formless thought seed in the creative mind. Everything necessary to bring new ideas into form is always available. In your imagination, there’s no shortage of supply–there never has been nor ever will be.
All that’s required for your advancement is always present–it might not be in physical form yet–but available to you nonetheless. Innovation begins with a formless, creative idea seed. Ideas well planted become the things that transform markets and create a remarkable business.
Thinking in a certain way.
The disheartening reality is only one in five startup entrepreneurs will rise above and beyond the early-struggle phase of their business growth. The reason the odds of success are stacked against early-stage entrepreneurs is not due to circumstances of geography, economy, competition, talent, trend, timing, or capital. That’s weather. And you can’t change the weather. You can, however, change your thinking.
I believe the dominant factor determining which entrepreneurs ascend from early struggle to the higher level of sustainable success is their mindset–their ability to think in a certain way!
The discipline to maintain an open, optimistic, flexible, creative frame of mind consumed with generosity and gratitude, despite the presence of undesired circumstances, is Jedi Master level stuff–an essential skill for new breed 21st century entrepreneurs to rise above and create more impact and influence in the marketplace. You alone make the choice to base your life and business strategy on the creative plane or the competitive one.
An entrepreneur’s sole purpose is centered in the creative act of bringing formless ideas into a form that provides new value for the marketplace. It makes little sense to compete for the value already created by your competitors.
As Steve Jobs was fond of saying “let’s put a dent in the universe”. Make no mistake–denting the universe is not an activity for the weak-minded and undisciplined. Creating impact and influence can never be attained by fearing competitors, driving hard bargains, selling me-too products at cheaper prices, or paying your employees as low a wage as you can get away with.
True enough, not every creative entrepreneur will become the next Steve Jobs. But you can make a disciplined practice of being all that you can be. Growing daily in your knowledge and serving others through the venue of your growing business, is the best and only method I can suggest for denting the universe with your innovations.
I’ve spent my entire professional life in deep exploration to understand the first principles underpinning the mindset–the head game– that creates a beloved business and a life of freedom and prosperity. This has been my passion, my quest, my work, and my own journey as an entrepreneur.
For over forty years, as a business strategy advisor and creative consultant, I’ve worked personally in collaboration with hundreds of entrepreneurs, business leaders and management teams engaged in the process of bringing new value to the marketplace and transforming their business to the next level. The ideas presented in this book were born from that body of work.
Over my long career, the entrepreneurs and business leaders I’ve collaborated with, regardless of the size of their business or the industry they’re in, share one common and dominant goal–to have more impact, influence and income enabling them to experience more personal freedom, fulfillment, and prosperity.
I’m confident you share this same aspiration for your own life and business.
The strategic principles outlined in the chapters that follow provide a framework to inspire you to form and discipline the right frame of mind necessary to enjoy more personal and business success.
The 21 guiding principles outlined in this book will inspire you to declare to yourself, your team, your customers, and to the marketplace at large, what you stand for, are known for, and why it matters to high value customers.
I’ve organized the book around four essential pillars that are the foundation for building an influential business customers love and can’t live without.
WHY: Your Vision and Purpose.
Developing a compelling vision and strategic plan for your total life/business experience based solely on what truly matters to you, leverages your unique talents to create value for customers and clients; and enables you to experience greater joy, fulfillment and deep satisfaction from your business far beyond money-making.
WHO: Your leadership.
Continuously expanding the quality of your presence and influence in the marketplace by elevating your thinking, clarifying your purpose, enhancing your effectiveness to innovate new value, lead a team of smart, talented, and committed employees, partners, and stakeholders who will support and magnify your efforts along the way.
HOW: How you do things that creates new value for people.
Relentlessly pursuing innovation and creativity to develop products, services and experiences that are unexpected and highly valued by your customers and clients, and difficult for competitors to match.
WHAT: Your impact and influence in the marketplace.
Expand your impact, influence and competitive advantage by building a valuable brand through strategic positioning, compelling storytelling, and business development strategies that present your business/brand as the “one and only” choice in the minds of the best customers and clients, thus elevating your business from the alternatives and making competitors irrelevant.
A journey of plateaus.
At every stage of your business growth, you will face challenges that block progress. This is true for those at the early struggle phase of their business, and for those whose established business has reached a plateau.
Growth and expansion is a journey of a lifetime wherein every new success eventually becomes a plateau-a success trap. Linger too long on a plateau and things begin a slow decline.
Anything that stops growing starts dying. It’s a law of nature.
Unfortunately, Nature has equipped humans with the ability to “acclimate” to our surroundings. In the days of eat or be eaten, hunter-gathers needed to acclimate to their new surroundings quickly so they would know what was safe and normal within their environment and what was not. Becoming familiar with our surroundings was a useful survival skill- this is not so when it comes to growing your business.
This acclimation principle, the result of thousands of years of human evolution, will dull your mental state and keep you from getting to the next level. Everything eventually becomes a plateau. What was once a big customer or client win, will eventually become a routine client. Your excitement attracting talented employees can eventually become a heavy overhead burden. Your once innovative products and services can become commodities. You get the idea. Inevitably, you’ll get acclimated to every level of success you experience.
With every success, you can become more comfortable resisting the necessary calculated risks in pursuit of new opportunities. When fully acclimated to your accomplishments, it’s easy to fall into the trap “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Eventually you’ll find yourself on a plateau. Plateaus are an early warning sign –indicators you’ve stopped growing. Sound familiar?
We can get stuck and often we do. Plateaus are traps. In my own business life, I was stuck on a plateau for well over a decade. Once fully acclimated to a level of success, it was very difficult for me to gather the will and courage to push myself off my own comfortable perch and move on and up to the next level.
For entrepreneurs at every level, the path to freedom and prosperity is a journey of plateaus. Each new level of success brings with it the satisfaction and fulfillment of reaching your goals but it’s easy to stay stuck and stop growing. Plateaus are good for brief periods of rest–nothing more.
Just remember the key to maintaining momentum and growth is never allow yourself to linger too long in the comfort and safety of your accomplishments. If your success becomes a plateau, it will eventually evaporate under your feet. But if you’re on a steady climb, conforming to the natural Law of Increase, you’ll always be looking up and out for new opportunity.
Venture out onto the wild frontier–far from the known comfort and safety of your current circumstances or accomplishments. Moving up from a plateau requires you break free from your familiar position and expand your capabilities into new territory where you can innovate unexpected value for customers that result in higher value relationships.
Like a rocket breaking free of earth’s gravity, tremendous focus and energy is required. Your dominant frame of mind–thinking in a certain way– is what determines your speed and trajectory.
Higher value relationships are the basis for you to have more impact and influence in the marketplace. As you bring more value to customers and clients, you become more to yourself and to all others important in your life. As you ascend through each plateau of growth and success, it’s not about what you get, but what you become.
Whether you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, are in the early struggle phase of your business, or you’re well established taking your business to the next level, the strategic principles outlined in this manifesto offers a framework and reference point for you to develop a more disciplined, creative frame of mind to grow far beyond what you may now believe is possible for you to accomplish.
I’m reminded of the classic baby elephant trainer story. If you haven’t heard the story, it goes something like this:
Circus elephant trainers use a simple technique to manage the movement of baby elephants by binding a hind leg with a shackle and chain linked to a stake in the ground. The baby elephant can only walk around in an area controlled by the length of the chain, but they’re not strong enough to break free of the chain.
In time, the baby elephant realizes its life experience is limited to the small circle around the stake in the ground. The baby elephant acclimates to the small circle, the boundaries of its known world defined by its circumference.
As the baby elephant grows into a massive, powerful creature completely capable of breaking the chain, trainers know the grown elephant would never try to escape. The reason is simple–the elephant had learned what the limits of its world had become and never imagined it could be so much more.
Entrepreneurs can be like the baby elephant, limiting their opportunities by the known
circles of their current circumstances–never realizing they have the power and strength to break free at any moment.
Your vision for a bigger future of freedom and prosperity begins in your formless imagination. Making it a reality requires breaking free from the mental chains holding you in place.
My hope is you’ll find the strategic principles outlined in this manifesto a starting point to help guide and elevate your strategic and creative thinking to 10X your impact, influence, and income.
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